Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
I am writing to you as a Canadian of Cameroonian descent who is concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Cameroon.
As you may be aware, over the last two years, Cameroon has been in the global spotlight because of the conflict pitting the country’s English-speaking minority against the government it accuses of marginalization and discrimination.
The conflict, which started in October 2016 as a peaceful protest by teachers and lawyers, has finally evolved into a full-blown civil war with some 5,000 Cameroonians losing their lives. Despite calls by the international community for the government to hold an inclusive dialogue that will bring about a peaceful resolution of the issues raised by English-speaking Cameroonians, the country’s government has continued to pursue its military action targeting even children and pregnant women in the region.
The country’s government is clearly determined to decimate the region’s population. Its military has been killing indiscriminately, targeting innocent men and women in places like markets and churches. The government’s atrocities have been carefully documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group which are credible human rights groups.
As a result of these atrocities, the United States Administration has recently reduced its military aid to the country and it is urging the government of Cameroon to investigate, in a transparent manner, all the allegations brought to its attention.
The United States Administration has also put on hold large amounts of aid to the country until Mr. Paul Biya’s government commits to respecting international human rights laws and terminating its military action regarding the spiraling conflict in the two English-speaking regions of the country.
As a key trading partner and a respectable ally of the United States, I am urging you and your government to follow the example set by the Trump Administration so that the Cameroon government can stop conducting itself as a rogue state.
Canada’s silence over the atrocities in Cameroon seems to be an endorsement of Mr. Biya’s criminal actions in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. I would like to recall that Canada’s silence over this matter is hurting its image abroad.
In Cameroon, like in many African countries, Canada is known for its impeccable human rights record and its reputation when it comes to peacekeeping around the world. Canada is a respected nation and a sanctuary for people facing persecution across the world. Your silence over the disaster playing out in Cameroon is slowly eroding Canada’s reputation; a reputation built over several centuries by your predecessors.
As one of Cameroon’s many partners and donors, I am beseeching you, Mr. Prime Minister, to use your high office and Canada’s leading role in global politics to call on the Cameroonian government to put an end to its atrocities in the country’s two English-speaking regions.
Nowhere in the world is it fashionable to kill children and pregnant women. In Canada, human rights violations are not tolerated and conflicts are resolved at the negotiating table. Canada should not be seen as supporting a government that is mowing down its own people and rendering others homeless by burning their homes. This will never happen in Canada and Canadians should be outraged that their government is quiet over such inhumanity and suffering in another country.
Mr. Prime Minister, I trust your government will act immediately to prevent any further loss of human life. I will be submitting a formal request to my Member of Parliament in Brampton, Ontario, for Canada’s assistance in the resolution of this conflict that has brought untold hardship to the peace-loving people of Cameroon.
I look forward to a prompt response from your office.
Joachim Arrey, Ph.D.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada.